Nobody wants to support child slavery, but millions of Americans are unwittingly funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa every time they buy a chocolate bar.
The average American munches their way through more than 11 pounds of chocolate every year. The chocolate business is lucrative – worth over $10 billion annually – but unfortunately some well known companies refuse to stop funding the child slave trade.
These companies promote themselves as wholesome while relying on consumers remaining in the dark about their child slave profits.
In 2014, a lawsuit was filed against eight companies – including Hershey, Mars, and Nestle – alleging that the companies were duping consumers into “unwittingly” funding the child slave labor trade in West Africa, home to two-thirds of the world’s cacao beans.
These companies have been promising to stop benefiting from child slave labor for decades, but they keep reneging on their promises, and the children are still in chains. It’s time we demanded that child slavery must be abolished, and the best way to do that is to vote at the checkout.
Worker ages range from 11-16 (sometimes younger). They are trapped in isolated farms, where they work 80 to 100 hours a week. The film Slavery: A Global Investigation spoke with freed children who reported that they were often beaten with fists and belts and whips.
“The beatings were a part of my life,” Aly Diabate, a freed slave, toldreporters. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”
To help you avoid supporting slavery this year, here are seven chocolate companies that benefit from child slave labor:
Renumeration for cocoa farmers is so poor that many of them have never even tasted chocolate – the finished product is simply too expensive for them. To witness a cocoa farmer taste chocolate for the first time, watch the first couple of minutes of this video:
Legislation nearly passed in 2001 in which the FDA would implement “slave free” labeling on the packaging. Before the legislation made it to a vote, the chocolate industry – including Nestle, Hershey, and Mars – used its corporate money to stop it by “promising” to self-regulate and end child slavery in their businesses by 2005. This deadline has repeatedly been pushed back, with the current goal now at 2020.